11 juillet 2015

Kwahéri Maoré

          When I arrived at my Mahorese school, I met several teachers who were in their last year in Mayotte. And universally, they told me that when you're in your last year, you're already at your destination in your mind. One, named Henri Denglades, was going back to his native French Guyana at the end of that school year. From September until the end of the year, he was mentally already there, thinking about how he would see his family again and reclaim his house. Every month of his last school year,... [Lire la suite]
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16 mars 2015

Lille again.

                   As Nanny and Papi know from a rather frantic Facetime chat some time last week, I've been in Lille for the last week and a half, looking for a flat. It wasn't supposed to go that way. Originally, H and I had planned to spend the school holidays together in Lille, where he lives. He doesn't seem to be the communicative type: when we first got together, we'd be Skype-ing for ages. Ages turned into once or twice a week after the October holidays, then once... [Lire la suite]
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02 février 2015

Brugge

      On my last day in Lille, H had to work all day, so I dropped him off at his school, planning to go back down to Lille and across to Roubaix, where I'd heard there was an interesting exhibition about Camille Claudel as well as 500 or so wool soldiers that local artists had made. The enormous traffic jams going into Lille made me change my mind, so I drove up to Dunkirk instead. Please bear in mind that it was 8 or 9 a.m., not fully light yet, and -1°C. Drove through Dunkirk, making a royal mess of the traffic... [Lire la suite]
05 janvier 2015

Bangas

                  Another fairly recent series of photos by a local magazine called 101 District. Mayotte is France's 101st department, so that number comes around quite a bit. Above are the boys' lodgings. At age 17 or so, the Mahorese tradition wants boys to build a cabin out of wattle and daub, or, more recently, out of corrugated iron. They carefully and brightly decorate these cabins, which then act as a home to the boy and his friends. He will bring girls back to this cabin... [Lire la suite]
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27 octobre 2014

Ngazidja

        "Salam aleikoum." "Aleikoum salam. Gawamnono?" "Ndjema, hamdulillah!"   I've just got back from a week's holiday in Ngazidja, the largest of the four Comoros islands. They are known as Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli), Ndzuani (Anjouan) and Maoré (Mayotte). The last one is the subject of quite a lot of debate, as Mayotte belongs geographically to the Comoros archipel, but is administratively claimed by France. The Mahorese have taken this opportunity to lord it over the other... [Lire la suite]
01 septembre 2014

Alefa Madagascar! Part 2 of 2.

          The starting point of anything Malagasy is Antananarivo, the capital city, generally shortened to Tana. It's bang in the centre of Madagascar, and it's where all the planes go to and come from. So, logically, this was the starting point of my adventure. It's also the only place in Madagascar where you can rent a motorbike (or any other vehicle, for that matter). I started off down the RN7, which is the best-known and best-maintained road in Madagascar. It's tarred pretty much all the way down,... [Lire la suite]
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07 juillet 2014

HLM

           This is a Mahorese multi-storey building. There seems to be just one on the island. I don't think anyone actually lives there: I see it as more of an attraction than anything else, for the following reason. A sign in front explains that photographs cost five euros.               
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02 juin 2014

Wenka

           I'm currently writing a lesson plan on graffiti and street art, the idea being to teach the kids what the point of each is and how to tell the difference. As there are a lot of tags here, I wanted to start off with pictures of graffiti around their home village in the hopes that they would recognize some of it and be able to find the rest pretty easily. What started off as a short trip down the main road turned into a two-hour photo safari throughout the village, with cries of "Miss... [Lire la suite]
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14 avril 2014

Majicavo

The village I live in is called Majicavo. Literally, it means "where there is no water". Like all Mahorese villages, it's a very poor place, but near enough to the capital (Mamoudzou) for people to want to be modern and Westernized. Also like all Mahorese villages, it has a lot of shops, known as doukas, and small local restaurants, called brochetti or brochetterie because they sell mainly chicken wings and kebabs of meat or fish. They have names such as "Welcome Mayotte", "Mastéréhi" ("Enjoy your meal and be at rest"),... [Lire la suite]
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25 mars 2013

The North from East to West

                   When P was here, he wanted to see if his scooter still worked. As I hadn't gone anywhere near it for the past few months, it didn't start. P pulled bits of it out and put it all back together, gave it some petrol and kept trying, and it started a couple of days later. So to make sure it kept working, he wanted to go on a fairly long trip with it. As we hadn't yet explored the north of Mayotte - too busy when he was here, and I'm not doing that on my own - we... [Lire la suite]
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